The Church of Brotherly Love
In I Thessalonians 4:9-12 Paul said, “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
The New Testament often speaks of the love of fellow Christians for one another. Since we are all children of the same Father in a special sense, we are family! Occasionally the New Testament uses the word “brother” to refer simply to another human being (Matthew 25:40), or to one’s fellow countryman (Romans 9:3). However, on most occasions it is used concerning a fellow believer in Jesus Christ. This is true of all places where the concept of brotherly love, or brotherly kindness, appears in the New Testament.
Even in the Old Testament, the Israelites were taught not to hate their brothers. Leviticus 19:17-18 says, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart . . . but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is also emphasized in the New Testament when believers are exhorted to “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10), to “let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1), to “love the brotherhood“ (I Peter 2:17), and to “love as brothers” (I Peter 3:8).
Brotherly love is the badge, or hallmark, of a Christian (John 13:35). Christians are to be known by the world for their love for one another. The Greek word for brotherly love (phileo) appears as the name of a city in the province of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1:11). Philadelphia was the city of brotherly love. We can learn even more from this church by the commendation Jesus gives to them in Revelation. However, the church that gets this title in Paul's writings is the church at Thessalonica.
Paul basically says…. I am not writing these words to tell you we need love here, or even why we should love each other, but simply ask that we increase more and more. This is my purpose is writing this article. We need to let our light shine throughout our community and let others share in this love. Everyone around us needs to see this great love we have for the Lord and for one another. After all, we are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are His body!
You are loved!
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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